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Abstract nouns

An abstract noun is one which is used to mean an idea, experience or quality rather than an
object. Thus happiness, intention and shock are abstract nouns whereas, for example, pen,
bed and trousers are not.
There are a number of suffixes which are used particularly frequently in the formation of
abstract nouns. Some of the most common are -ment, -ion, -ness and -ity.
Note: -ment and -ion are usually used to make verbs into abstract nouns whereas -ness and
-ity are added to adjectives; -ion sometimes becomes -tion, +ion, -ation or -ition.
Here are some examples of abstract nouns using those suffixes.
achievement
action
aggressiveness
absurdity
collection
attractiveness
anonymity
adjustment
amazement
bitterness
complexity
combination
illusion
carelessness
discouragement
curiosity
improvement
consciousnes~
generosity
imagination
investment
production
permissiveness
hostility
replacement
tenderness
prosperity
recognition
retirement
reduction
ugliness
sensitivity
Less common suffixes associated with abstract nouns are -ship, -dom, -th and -hood.
Note: -ship and -hood are usually used in combination with other nouns whereas -th
combines with an adjective to form an abstract noun and -dom can combine with either a
noun or an adjective.
Here are some examples of abstract nouns using those suffixes.
apprenticeship
boredom
breadth
adulthood
companionship
freedom
depth
brotherhood
membership
kingdom
length
childhood
ownership
strength
motherhood
martyrdom
stardom
warmth
neighbowhood
partnership
relationship
wisdom
width
(wo)manhood
There are also a large number of abstract
some examples of these.
belief
anger
calm
humour
faith
fear
rage
luck
principle
sense
sight
speed

nouns which do not use any suffix at all. Here are


chance
idea
reason
thought

You will find more examples of the use of suffixes in Units 8 and 10 and of abstract nouns
in Units 68 and 69.

English Vocabulary in Use

II I

Exercises
What is the abstract noun related to each of the following adjectives? All the nouns are
formed in ways described on the opposite page although not all are listed opposite.
Example: affectionate affection
1 affectionate
5 amused
9 attentive
13 equal
2 excited
6 graceful
10 happy
14 hopeful
3 kind
7 original
11 popular
15 resentful
4 secure
8 stupid
12 weak
16 wise
Find at least one more noun using each of the suffixes in B and C.

1 1.3

Which abstract noun on the opposite page is a synonym of each of the following?
Example: animosity hostility or aggressiveness
1 animosity
5 substitution
9 vision
2 astonishment
6 fame
10 liberty
3 inquisitiveness
7 decrease
11 fury
4 fraternity
8 area
12 wealth

I I-4 Complete the following table.

I abstract noun
contentment
argument
emptiness
intensity
satisfaction
sentiment
strength

adjective

verb

adverb

content(ed)

to content

contenedly

..........................

...........................

...........................

...........................
...........................

...........................
...........................
...........................
...........................
...........................

...........................
...........................
...........................

...........................
...........................
...........................

...........................
...........................

Which of the words in the list below is being described in the following quotations?
love
permanence
hope
jealousy
happiness
beauty
1 '.................................is no more than feeling alone among smiling enemies.'
2 '.. ............................... is like coke; something you get as the by-product of making
something- else.'
3 '................................. is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to
be desperate.'
4 '................................. is a universal migraine.'
5 'The British love .................................more than they love ..................................

I 1.6

Write your own quotations to describe the following abstract nouns.


1 freedom
2 friendship
3 life
4 curiosity
5 imagination
/

English Vocabulary in Use

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